City updates Rock Cut Road intersection ahead of Cecil Ashburn Closure

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Monday is the big day for a major traffic change in Huntsville, when road work will begin in the morning on Cecil Ashburn Drive.

That means a 3.4 mile stretch of road spanning from the Big Cove area to Jones Valley will be shut down. The closure is scheduled to take 10 months, and it will affect a lot of us, since 17,000 drivers use Cecil Ashburn every day.

City officials ask you to take one of these three alternate routes on your commute.

For months, the city has been working to get these roads ready for more traffic.

There are some changes drivers will notice along Highway 72 via the Eastern Bypass. The intersection of Rock Cut Road and Highway 72 will see a lot more traffic than usual while Cecil Ashburn is closed.

Huntsville identified the increased traffic early on, and has made some updates so the road can handle more vehicles.

The first change drivers will notice is a temporary traffic signal which went live Sunday.

Traffic Improvment Projects Manager Nicholas Nene said this signal is all about driver safety during the project, and will affect eastbound drivers on Highway 72.

"Our department was able to install a signal for drivers coming off Rock Cut in order to safely make a left out," he explained.

He also discussed the second part of the update - an acceleration lane for westbound drivers turning left onto Highway 72 from Rock Cut Road.

"Drivers on the westbound direction will not stop and this is going to be accomplished by installing and completing an acceleration lane which is going to be about 1,200 feet," he added. "Having an acceleration lane helps in two ways. One, if there is a heavy stream of vehicles traveling westbound, vehicles can easily stack up in that acceleration lane in order to merge, however, the primary intent and the hope is as a driver turns left off Rock Cut and turns onto US 72 westbound, they can accelerate and merge into traffic just like if you were merging into a different lane on a highway."

The acceleration lane will be a permanent fixture of this intersection, but Nene says the traffic signal won't be there forever. It will be removed after the Cecil Ashburn project is complete.

For more information about the Cecil Ashburn project, visit the Cecil Ashburn section of whnt.com.

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